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Incentives maybe the way to gain planning permission for waste facilities

More needs to be done to incentivise local communities when it comes to planning waste management infrastructure, according to a new report published today.

Waste Management Infrastructure: Incentivising Community Buy-In
, published by the Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group and sponsored by SITA, puts forward recommendations which the group believe the government should adopt in order to make planning permission for waste infrastructure much easier to achieve.

The report makes 12 recommendations of how this may be done including:
* Community ownership of waste facilities
* Local shareholding schemes
* District heating systems
* New design possibilities for waste management infrastructure.

Speaking to MRW about the report, ASPRG co-chair Dr Alan Whitehead said: These are all very realistic recommendations, they are not a utopian wish list.

The sheer scale of the infrastructure that is going to be needed to change how we manage our waste is absolutely huge, this is demonstrated by the estimated numbers of 300-500 new facilities over the next few years and so a combination of measures is going to be required to make that happen and if that doesnt happen people will find out they have to pay attention.

Making people sit-up and take notice through community buy-in rather than just simply telling them thats how it is is preferable.

Speaking at the launch of the report ASPRG co-chair and shadow minister for environment, food and rural affairs Lord Taylor of Holbeach said: One of the key factors will be to try and relate the size of the units to the communities to which they are intended to serve. This has the advantage of localism and removes the NIMBY argument that we are dealing with other peoples rubbish and I think that there is a huge advantage for the industry in finding economic models which will work at smaller scale.

It increases the number of them but your friendly neighbourhood waste transfer plant, may be a better thing than having a massive regional structure on which to base it.

Environment minister Dan Norris said: I support the policies and suggestions that the report puts forward. We are obviously going to look very very closely at the recommendations that the report makes.

With an election coming up it is not known how quickly these recommendations are likely to be considered and whether a new government will take them up.

However, the report was put together with the support of all three main political parties. It was compiled between October 2009 and February 2010 based on extensive interviews with stakeholders, industry experts and local authority councillors and officials.

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